Taking the rap: Man blames list of charges on girlfriend
When Daniel Leslay Clarke, 21, appeared in the Bundaberg Magistrate Court this week, he pleaded guilty to a total of 14 charges, but said he "just took the rap for most" of the offences as a favour to his ex-partner.
Dating back to May last year, the lengthy list of charges included five counts of stealing, two counts of public nuisance, two counts of trespassing and one count each of fraud, attempted fraud, common assault, contravene police direction and possessing drug utensils.
In May last year, the court heard Clarke entered a Target store in Brisbane's North Lakes Shopping Centre with a female companion.
He then approached the store manager, acted in an aggressive manner and verbally abused her, causing her to retreat to her office in fear.
Four days later, the defendant returned to the store, yelled loudly throughout the store and ignored the same staff member when she attempted to serve him with a banning notice.
Clarke also committed a trespassing offence by ignoring a banning notice already in place at another store in Morayfield Shopping Centre in June last year.
That same month, the defendant contravened police orders to attend a drug aversion program, with Clarke telling police he couldn't go because he wanted to go to his brother's birthday party instead.
Between July 2 and August 30 last year, he trespassed at a private property at Caboolture, which was unoccupied at the time and awaiting repairs.
The owner reported the incident to police and a forensic examination identified the defendant's finger prints on a glass door inside the property.
When police spoke with Clarke about the incident, he admitted that he slept there overnight on August 28 as he was homeless at the time and knew the house was unoccupied.
Police received inquiries about a property and arrived at the address on July 30, where they located an electronic grinder in the garage and the defendant admitted to using it to cut up marijuana so he could smoke it.
In September, Clarke entered a Kmart store located in Chermside, Brisbane and began filling an empty shopping trolley with numerous items.
The defendant then left the store without attempting to pay for the items, valued at $339 and returned to the store about 20 minutes later, requesting a refund for the stolen goods.
Suspicious about the situation, the shop attendant refused to process a refund and the defendant left the store with the goods.
He was later found by police and admitted to stealing the store goods which were still in his possession.
After relocating back to Bundaberg, where he had lived as a child, Clarke then attempted to steal items from the local Kmart store at Hinkler Shopping Centre in November.
Entering the store about midday, he placed a large, wireless speaker in his trolley, along with two tents and other household furnishings.
He then left the store without paying for the products and returned to the store about 15 minutes later to claim a refund for the stolen goods valued at $378, using old receipts.
The defendant received two store gift vouchers, each valued at $189.99 and upon exiting the store, was captured on security cameras.
Police were called in regards to the incident and upon speaking with Clarke, he told them "it was a stupid thing to do."
Later that month, the defendant entered the JB Hi-Fi store in Bundaberg with his girlfriend at the time and browsed the aisles for a short duration of time.
Staff became suspicious of the pair's behaviour and alerted the store manager, who observed them on the store's security system from his office.
The defendant became agitated for no apparent reason and started giving rude hand gestures to the instore security cameras.
When the store manager left his office and requested Clarke leave due to his behaviour, the defendant barged past him, dropping his shoulder into him and causing him to stumble backwards.
The victim did not sustain any injuries but notified police of the incident.
This year in January, the defendant and his girlfriend at the time entered Garden City Shopping Centre in Mt Gravatt, Brisbane and stole a pair of Prada sunglasses from Sunglasses Hut, an Adidas bag from Rebel Sports and some clothing from David Jones.
Clarke, who was diagnosed with Aspergus and ADHD and currently not on any medication, said his girlfriend was responsible for most of the charges but he was "taking the rap" for her.
He said his mother, who now lives in Sydney, introduced him to criminal offending from a young age and as he has been homeless for most of his adult life, has used those skills to survive as he had no source of income for 12 to 18 months.
Now living with his father in Bundaberg, Clarke has not committed an offence since January this year and says he is working towards improving his lifestyle.
The court heard that the defendant does not drink alcohol, occasionally smokes marijuana and tried ice in Caboolture but doesn't feel that he has substance abuse issues.
He is currently studying a Certificate III in hospitality through IMPACT and the organisation is also trying to enrol him in Bridges to assist with his mental health and anger management issues.
Magistrate Andrew Moloney said he wanted to give the defendant one final chance before recording a conviction against his name.
He placed Clarke on probation for 18 months and said if he could make it through without breaching the order and reoffending, it could be a new start for the defendant.
The court also ordered him to submit to medical, psychiatric and psychological assessment and treatment and pay restitution to Kmart for the stolen gift vouchers.